Emma Trott is a cyclist, rider, member of Team GB cycling, and currently riding for the world class Dutch women’s professional cycling team, Dolmans-Boels.She is also an incredible example of the selfless pursuit of team and a determination to overcome adversity.
“I’m entirely happy, I thoroughly enjoy my team mates winning,” Emma says as we talk about the contrast of team road racing with any other team sport.
Road cycling is all about team and supporting the top riders to win events. Only the winner gets a medal, not the team…so what makes someone so
dedicated as this and as happy in the role they are in without any self-importance to cloud their performance?
The key is that Emma is clear on her role - but not just this, she likes it and is happy with it - and this is reflected in our interview. It’s as if
she can’t contain herself: her enthusiasm for what she does and her enjoyment of her role shines through. She talks with passion, speed and genuine excitement.
It is hard to describe the sense that Emma gives - not only by what she says, but how she says it. You can’t help but smile and be amazed by how completely
committed she is to doing what she loves.
Emma is very clear on what needs to be done on the course and what each rider’s responsibility is. This clarity has allowed her to become a remarkable
rider, supporting the best in the world, cycling for one of the best teams in the world. “It affects the team if there is any ‘I’ in the team,” she says.
“I love riding for my team mates, it’s a great laugh, we get the job done.” It’s this balance that is interesting and important. Yes, she is the ultimate
team player and focused on her role - but there is a job to be done and it can be done together and with fun.
Is Emma any less driven than any other athlete who wants to win? Of course not. “I’m not going to say I don’t enjoy winning, I’d love to win more - but
I like the team and being part of it and my role in it.”
I ask Emma about the horrific crash when she was hit by a car and left with multiple injuries: a broken collar bone, concussion, twisted hip, pelvis and
spine. There is a moment where the atmosphere changes and you can feel the emotion in the air. “I went through a season where I beat Marianne Voss* and
five days later was hit by a car and that was almost it.” A long pause as she reflects: “I’ve suffered hell,” Emma says. “It has not been much fun....”
she says of all the challenges coming back from such an injury. (*Marianne Vos is regarded as the finest cyclist of her generation, who has won two Olympic
Gold medals and three World Championships.)
Emma had to have a great deal of physio work after the accident and still needs weekly physio treatment. As a result of her hip injury she was cycling
using only one leg… which needed a lot of work doing; core and strength work were big
“I’m not going to say I’d love to win more - but being part of it and my on the agenda too, as was being put back into place three times a week.
Aside from the accident she has also had frozen eyeballs. Yes, it’s possible! Emma says the doctor told her that “...it’s ok, it will defrost”...! “...I
was like, you are having a laugh?” she says, laughing as she recalls this incident. It was so cold during the race that her eyeball literally froze!
Despite all of this and the emotion attached to this conversation it is clear that she loves cycling more than anything. These are awful things that have
happened - but she is as clear that she needs to acknowledge them for what they are rather than sugarcoat them. It is this spirit that makes her the person
and athlete that she is - and an asset to her team.
“I have made loads of friends around the world I would have never met,” she says reflecting on what cycling has given her aside from a career: fun and
amazing experiences. The exciting thing is that Emma is at a stage and place now where she feels that her form is back and she is in a better place. “It’s
only this season that things are falling back into place again,” Emma says. This is exciting to hear from an amazing rider who has pulled herself back
from injuries that could have meant she may never have ridden again.
Here is a genuine person and athlete who has put her body through an amazing amount because she loves what she does and enjoys it. She is comfortable
being part of a team, clear in her role and happy in her own skin whilst having grit that is truly word class. This has produced a person with a most amazing
depth of character that comes across without negativity despite some of her experiences - and one who is relaxed, is fun and has fun and truly loves what
she does - and enjoys both bitter and sweet without
complaining about it.
It has been a privilege to spend time with Emma and I look forward to seeing her race this year.